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far ahead. By this time her sails were hanging in
tatters, her mizzen-topmast, mizzen-topsail, and cross-
jack-yards, shot away. But the frigate which had her in
tow hove in stays,^ and got her round. Both these French
ships now brought their guns to bear, and opened their
fire. The Agamemnon passed them within half-pistol

1. Gunshot. About 250 yards.

2. On her weather how. Opposite the bow, on the side toward the

3. Touched her stern. Came up with her,

4. This maneuver. "By the use of helm and sails, the ship alter-
nately turned her starboard side to fire her batteries and again re-
sumed her course to regain the distance lost by each deviation,"—
Mahan, Life of Nelson, Vol. I, p. 164.

5. Hove in stays. Changed to the opposite tack.

106 The Life of Nelson

shot ; almost every shot passed over her, for the French
had elevated their guns for the rigging, and for distant
firing, and did not think of altering the elevation. As
soon as the Agamemnon^ s after-guns ceased to bear, she"
hove in stays, keeping a constant fire as she came round :
and being worked, said Nelson, with as much exactness
as if she had been turning into Spithead.^ On getting
round, he saw that the Sans Culottes, which had wore,
with many of the enemy's ships, was under his lee bow,
and standing to leeward.^ The Admiral,^ at the same
time, made the signal for the van ships* to join him.
Upon this Nelson bore away, and prepared to set all
sail; and the enemy, having saved their ship, hauled
close to the wind, and opened upon him a distant and
ineffectual fire. Only seven of the Agamemnon's men
were hurt — a thing which Nelson himself remarked as
wonderful: her sails and rigging were very much cut,
and she had many shots in her hull, and some between
wind and water. ^ The Ca Ira lost 110 men that day, and
was so cut up that she could not get a topmast aloft
during the night.

At daylight on the following morning, the English
ships were taken aback^ with a fine breeze at N. W.,
while the enemy's fleet kept the southerly wind. The

1. SpitJiead. The eastern entrance to the harbor of Southampton,

2. Wore . . . standing to leeward. The French had turned
With the wind and were now to leeward of Nelson and somewhat ahead
of him, sailing with the wind fair.

3. Admiral. The British Admiral, Hotham.

4. Tan ships. The ships of the forward division. In the eighteenth
century the conventional battle formation was in three divisions, van,
center, and rear.

5. Between wind and water. In parts of the hull near the water-
Hue, sometimes exposed and sometimes submerged by the rolling of the

6. Taken alacTc. Struck by a sudden change of wind, throwing the
square sails back against the mast.

The Life of Nelson 107

body of their fleet was about five miles distant; the Qa
Ira, and the Censeur, seventy-four, which had her in '
tow, about three and a half. All sail was made to cut
these ships off; and, as the French attempted to save
them, a partial action was brought on. The Agamemnon
was engaged with her yesterday 's antagonist ; but she^ ,
had to fight on both sides the ship at the same time. The
(Ja Ira and the Censeiir fought most gallantly: the first
lost nearly 300 men, in addition to her f orriier loss ; the
last 350. Both at last struck : and Lieutenant Andrews,
of the Agamemnon, brother to the lady to whom Nelson
had become attached in France, and, in Nelson's own
words, *^as gallant an officer as ever stepped a quarter-
deck," hoisted English colors on board them both. The
rest of the enemy's ships behaved very ill. As soon as
these vessels had struck, Nelson went to Admiral Hot-
ham, and proposed that the two prizes should be left
with the Illustrious and Courageux, which had been
crippled in the action, and with four frigates, and that
the rest of the fleet should pursue the enemy, and follow
up the advantage to the utmost. But his reply was —
'^We must be contented; we have done very well." —
"Now," said Nelson, "had we taken ten sail, and al-
lowed the eleventh to escape, when it had been possible
to have got at her, I could never have called it well
done.* Goodall backed me: I got him to write the Ad-

1. She. The French ship.

* "I can, entre nous," says Sir William Hamilton, in a letter to
Nelson, "perceive that my old friend, Hotham, is not quite awake
enough for such a command as that of the king's fleet in the Medi-
terranean, although he appears the best creature imaginable," — >
Southey's Note.

"He is careful of us," wrote Nelson, "and will not suffer a line-of-
battle ship to get out of his sight." Professor Laughton points out
that, had the French fleet been completely destroyed at this time, a
French army could hardly have invaded Italy, Spain would have
held to the English alliance, and Napoleon's expedition to Egypt would

108 The Life op Nelson

miral; but it would not do. We should have had such
a day as, I believe, the annals of England never pro-
duced." In this letter, the character of Nelson fully
manifests itself. ''I wish," said he, ''to be an admiral,
and in the command of the English fleet : I should very
soon either do much, or be ruined: my disposition can-
not bear tame and slow measures. Sure I am, had I
commanded on the 14th, that either the whole French
fleet would have graced my triumph, or I should have
been in a confounded scrape." What the event would
have been, he knew from his prophetic feelings and his
own consciousness of power: and we also know it now,
for Aboukir and Trafalgar have told it.

The Qa Ira and Censeiilr probably defended them-
selves with more obstinacy in this action, from a persua-
sion that, if they struck, no quarter would be given;
because they had fired red-hot shot, and had also a
preparation, sent, as they said, by the Convention from
Paris, which seems to have been of the nature of tjie
Greek fire ; for it became liquid when it was discharged,
and water would not extinguish its flames. This com-
bustible was concealed with great care in the captured
ships: like the red-hot shot, it had been found useless
in battle. Admiral Hotham's action saved Corsica for
the time; but the victory had been incomplete, and the
arrival at Toulon of six sail of the line, two frigates,
and two cutters, from Brest, gave the French a supe-
riority which, had they known how to use it, would
materially have endangered the British Mediterranean
fleet. That fleet had been greatly neglected during Lord
Chatham's administration at the Admiralty; and it did
not, for some time, feel the beneficial effect of his

bave remained undreamed of. Thus "the rise and grandeur of Na-
poleon's career are bound up with Hotham's irresolution on the 13th."
-—lAJe of Nelson^ p. 73.

The Life of Nelson 109

removal. Lord Hood had gone home to represent the
real state of affairs, and solicit reinforcements adequate
to the exigencies of the time, and the importance of
the scene of action. But that fatal error of under-
proportioning the force to the service — that ruinous
economy, which, by sparing a little, renders all that is
spent useless, infected the British councils; and Lord
Hood, not being able to obtain such reinforcements as
he knew' were necessary, resigned the command. ' 'Sure-
ly," said Nelson, ''the people at home have forgotten
us." Another Neapolitan seventy-four joined Admiral
Hotham ; and Nelson observed with sorrow, that this was
matter of exultation to an English fleet. When the
store-ships and victuallers from Gibraltar arrived, their
escape from the enemy was thought wonderful ; and yet,
had they not escaped, "the game," said Nelson, "was
up here. At this moment our operations are at a stand
for want of ships to support the Austrians in getting
possesion of the sea-coast of the King of Sardinia;^
and, behold, our Admiral does not feel himself equal to
show himself, much less to give assistance in their opera-
tions." It was reported that the French were again
out with eighteen or twenty sail. The combined British
and Neapolitan were but sixteen; should the enemy be
only eighteen. Nelson made no doubt of a complete vic-
tory, but if there were twenty, he said, it was not to be
^expected: and a battle, without complete victory, would
have been destruction, because another mast was not to
be got on that side Gibraltar. At length Admiral
Man arrived with a squadron from England. "What
they can mean by sending him with only five sail of the
line," said Nelson, "is truly astonishing: but all men

1. Sea coast of the King of Sardinia. The coast of Piedmont, in
western Italy, which constituted the chief part of the Sardinian king-

110 . The Life of Nelson

are alike, and we in this country do not find any amend-
ment or alteration from the old Board of Admiralty.
They should know that half the ships in the fleet require
to go to England ; and that long ago they ought to
have reinforced us."

About this time Nelson was made Colonel of Marines :^
a mark of approbation which he had long wished for
rather than expected. It came in good season, for his
spirits were oppressed by the thought that hi^ services
had not been acknowledged as they deserved; and it
abated the resentful feeling which would else have been
excited by the answer to an application to the War-
Office. During his four months' land service in Cor-
sica, he had lost all his ship-furniture, owing to the
movements of a camp. Upon this he wrote to the Sec-
retary-at-War, briefly stating what his services on shore
had been, and saying, he trusted it was not asking an
improper thing to request that the same allowance might
be made to him which would be made to a land officer of
his rank, which, situated as he was, would be that of a
Brigadier-General : if this could not be accorded, he
hoped that his additional expenses would be paid him.
The answer which he received was, ''that no pay had
ever been issued under the direction of the War-Office
to officers of the navy serving with the army on shore."

He now entered upon a new line of service. The Aus-
trian and Sardinian armies, under General de Yins,
required a British squadron to co-operate with them
in driving the French from the Riviera di Genoa :^ and
as Nelson had been so much in the habit of soldiering, it
was immediately fixed that the Brigadier should go. He
sailed from St. Fiorenzo on this destination ; but fell in,

1. Colonel of Marines. A sinecure appointment, of which there were
then four, given to post-captains for distinguished service, and vacated
by them on promotion.

2. Riviera di Genoa. The Genoese coast.

The Life of Nelson 111

off Cape del Mele, with the. enemy's fleet, who imme-
diately gave his squadron chase. The chase lasted four-
and-twenty hours ; and owing to the fickleness of the
wind, the British ships w^ere somewhat hard pressed:
but the want of skill on the part of the French gave
them many advantages. Nelson beat his way back to St.
Fiorenzo, where the fleet, which w^as in the midst of
watering and refitting, had, for seven hours, the morti-
fication of seeing him almost in possession of the enemy,
before the wind would allow them to put out to his
assistance. The French, however, at evening, went off,
not choosing to approach nearer the shore. During the
night. Admiral Hotham, by great exertions, got under
weigh ; and, having sought the enemy four days, came
in sight of them on the fifth. Baffling winds and vexa-
tious calms, so common in the Mediterranean, rendered
it impossible to close with them; only a partial action
could be brought on; and then the firing made a per-
fect calm. The French, being to windward, drew in
shore ; and the English fleet was becalmed six or seven
miles to the westward. L'Alcide, of seventy-four guns,
struck; but before she could be taken possession of, a
box of combustibles in her fore-top took fire, and the
unhappy crew experienced how far more perilous their
inventions were to themselves than to their enemies. So
rapid was the conflagration, that the French in their
official account say, the hull, the masts, and sails, all
seemed to take fire at the same moment; and though
the English boats were put out to the assistance of the
poor wretches on board, not more than 200 could be
saved. The Agamemnon, and Captain Rowley in the
Cumberland, were just getting into close action a second
time, when the Admiral called them off, the wind now
being directly into the Gulf of Frejus, where the enemy
anchored after the evening closed.

112 The Life of Nelson

Nelson now proceeded to his station with eight sail
of frigates under his command. Arriving at Genoa, he
had a conference with Mr. Drake, the British Envoy to
that state ; the result of which was, that the object of the
British must be, to put an entire stop to all trade be-
tween Genoa, France, and the places occupied by the
French troops ; for, unless this trade were stopped, it
would be scarcely possible for the allied armies to hold
their situation, and impossible for them to make any
progress in driving the enemy out of the Riviera di
Genoa. Mr. Drake was of opinion, that even Nice
might fall for want of supplies, if the trade with Genoa
were cut off. This sort of blockade Nelson could not
carry on without great risk to himself. A captain in
the Navy, as he represented to the Envoy, is liable to
prosecution for detention and damages.^ This danger
was increased by an order which had then lately been
issued; by which, when a neutral ship was detained, a
complete specification of her cargo was directed to be
sent to the Secretary of the Admiralty, and no legal
process instituted against her till the pleasure of that
Board should be communicated. This was requiring an
impossibility. The cargoes of ships detained upon this
station, consisting chiefly of corn, would be spoiled long
before the orders of the Admiralty could be known;
and then, if they should happen to release the vessel,
the owners would look to the captain for damages.
Even the only precaution which could be taken against
this danger involved another danger not less to be appre-
hended ; for, if the captain should direct the cargo to be
taken out, the freight paid for, and the vessel released,
the agent employed might prove fraudulent, and be-
come bankrupt ; and in that case the captain became re-

1. Detention and damages. Unwarranted detention of a neutral
ship, and damage to her cargo.

The Life of Nelson 113

sponsible. Such things had happened; Nelson there-
fore required, as the only means for carrying on that
service, which was judged essential to the common
cause, without exposing the officers to ruin, that the
British Envoy should appoint agents to pay the freight,
release the vessels, sell the cargo, and hold the amount
till process was had upon it : Government thus securing
its officers. ''I am acting," said Nelson, ''not only with-
out the orders of my Commander-in-Chief, but, in some
measure, contrary to him. However, I have not only
the support of his Majesty's ministers, both at Turin
and Genoa, but a consciousness that I am doing what is
right and proper for the service of our king and coun-
try. Political courage, in an officer abroad, is as highly
necessary as military courage."

This quality, which is as much rarer than military
courage, as it is more valuable, and without which the
soldier's bravery is often of little avail, Nelson possessed
in an eminent degree. His representations were attended
to as they deserved. Admiral Hotham commended him
for what he had done ; and the attention of Government
was awakened to the injury which the cause of the
allies continually suffered from the frauds of neutral
vessels. "What changes in my life of activity!" said
this indefatigable man. ''Here I am; having com-
menced a co-operation with an old Austrian General,
almost fancying myself charging at the head of a troop
of horse ! I do not write less than from ten to twenty
letters every day; which, with the Austrian General
and aides-de-camp, and my own little squadron, fully
employ my time. This I like ; — active service, or none. ' '
It was Nelson's mind which supported his feeble body
through these exertions. He was at this time almost
blind, and wrote with very great pain. "Poor Aga-
memnon/' he sometimes said, "was as nearly worn out

114 The Life op Nelson

as her Captain; and both must soon be laid up to
repair. ' '

When Nelson first saw General de Vins, he thought
him an able man, who was willing to act with vigor. The
general charged his inactivity upon the Piedmontese
and Neapolitans, w^hom, he said, nothing could induce to
act; and he concerted a plan with Nelson, for embark-
ing a part of the Austrian army, and landing it in the
rear of the French. But the English Commodore soon
began to suspect that the Austrian General was little
disposed to any active operations. In the hope of spur-
ring him on, he wrote to him, telling him that he had
surveyed the coast to the westward as far as Nice, and
would undertake to embark four or five thousand men,
with their arms, and a few days' provisions, on board
the squadron, and land them within two miles of St.
Remo, with their field-pieces. Respecting further pro-
visions for the Austrian army, he would provide con-
voys, that they should arrive in safety; and if a re-
embarkation should be found necessary, he would cover
it with the squadron. The possession of St. Remo, as
headquarters for magazines of every kind, would enable
the Austrian General to turn his army to the eastward
or westward. The enemy at Oneglia. would be cut off
from provisions, and men could be landed to attack that
place whenever it was judged necessary. St. Remo
was the only place between Vado and Ville Franche
where the squadron could lie in safety, and anchor in
almost all winds. The bay was not as good as Vado for
large ships ; but it had a mole,^ which Vado had not,
where all small vessels could lie, and load and unload
their cargoes. This bay being in possession of the allies,
Nice could be completely blockaded by sea. General de
Vins, affecting, in his reply, to consider that Nelson's

1. Mole. Break wn tor.

The Life op Nelson 115

proposal had no other end than that of obtaining the
Bay of St. Remo as a station for the ships, told him,
what he well knew, and had expressed before, that Vado
Bay was a better anchorage ; nevertheless, if Monsieur
le Commandant Nelson was well assured that part of the
fleet could winter there, there was no risk to which he
would not expose himself with pleasure, for the sake
of procuring a safe station for the vessels of his Bri-
tannic Majesty. Nelson soon assured the Austrian com-
mander that this was not the object of his memorial.
He now began to suspect that both the Austrian court
and their General had other ends in view than the cause
of their allies. ^'This army," said he, '4s slow beyond
all description ; and I begin to think that the Emperor is
anxious to touch another four millions of English money.
As for the German Generals, war is their trade, and
peace is ruin to them; therefore we cannot expect that
they should have any wish to finish the war. The poli-
tics of courts are so mean, that private people would be
ashamed to act in the same way : all is trick and finesse^
to which the common cause is sacrificed. The General
wants a loophole ; it has for some time appeared to me
that he means to go no farther than his present position,
and to lay the miscarriage of the enterprise against
Nice, which has always been held out as the great object
of his army, to the non-co-operation of the British fleet,
and of the Sardinians."

To prevent this plea, Nelson again addressed de Vins,
requesting only to know the time, and the number of
troops ready to embark; then he would, he said, dis-
patch a ship to Admiral Hotham, requesting transports,
having no doubt of obtaining them, and trusting that
the plan would be successful to its fullest extent. Nel-
son thought at the time, that if the whole fleet were
offered him for transports, he would find some other

116 The Life of Nelson

excuse; and Mr. Drake, who was now appointed to
reside at the Austrian headquarters, entertained the
same idea of the General's sincerity. It was not, how-
ever, put so clearly to the proof as it ought to have
been. He replied, that as soon as Nelson could declare
himself ready with the vessels necessary for conveying
10,000 men, with their artillery and baggage, he would
put the army in motion. But Nelson was not enabled
to do this : Admiral Hotham, who was highly merito-
rious in leaving such a man so much at his own discre-
tion, pursued a cautious system, ill-according with the
bold and comprehensive views of Nelson, who continu-
ally regretted Lord Hood, saying, that the nation had
suffered much by his resignation of the Mediterranean
command. The plan which had been concerted, he
said, would astonish the French, and perhaps the

There was no unity in the views of the allied powers,
no cordiality in their co-operation, no energy in their
councils. The neutral powers assisted France more
effectually than the allies assisted each other. The
Genoese ports were at this time filled with French pri-
vateers, which swarmed out every night, and covered the
gulf; and French vessels were allowed to tow out of
the port of Genoa itself, board vessels which were com-
ing in, and then return into the mole. This was allowed
without a remonstrance ; while, though Nelson abstained
most carefully from offering any offense to the Genoese
territory or flag, complaints were so repeatedly made
against his squadron, that, he says, it seemed a trial
who should be tired first: they of complaining, or he
of answering their complaints. But the question of
neutrality was soon at an end. An Austrian com-
missary was travelling from Genoa towards Vado; it
was known that he was to sleep at Voltri, ^d that he

The Life of Nelson 117

had £10,000 with him, — a booty which the French Min-
ister in that city, and the captain of a French frigate in
that port, considered as far more important than the
word of honor of the one, the duties of the other, and
the laws of neutrality. The boats of the frigate went
out with some privateers, landed, robbed the commis-
sary, and brought back the money to Genoa. The next
day men were publicly enlisted in that city for the
French army : 700 men were embarked, with 7000 stand
of arms,^ on board the frigates and other vessels, who
were to land between Voltri and Savona:^ — there a de-
tachment from the French army was to join them, and
the Genoese peasantry were to be invited to insurrection,
— a measure for which everything had been prepared.
The night of the 13th was fixed for the sailing of this
expedition: the Austrians called loudly for Nelson to
prevent it; and he, on the evening of the 13th, arrived
at Genoa. His presence checked the plan: the frigate,
knowing her deserts, got within the merchant ships, in
the inner mole ; and the Genoese government did not
now even demand of Nelson respect to the neutral port,
knowing that they had allowed, if not connived at, a
flagrant breach of neutrality, and expecting the answer
which he was prepared to return, that it was useless and
impossible for him to respect it longer.

But though this movement produced the immediate
effect which was designed, it led to ill consequences,
which Nelson foresaw, but, for want of sufficient force,
was unable to prevent. His squadron was too small for
the service which it had to perform. He required two
seventy- fours, and eight or ten frigates and sloops ; but
when he demanded this reinforcement, Admiral Hotham

1. stand of arms. Each "stand" Includes weapons and equipment
for one soldier,

2. Voltri and Savoita. Towns on the coast, the first nine miles and
the second about twenty-five miles west of Genoa.

118 The Life of Nelson

had left the command; Sir Hyde Parker succeeded till
the new commander should arrive ; and he immediately
reduced it almost to nothing, leaving him only one
frigate and a brig. This was a fatal error. While the
Austrian and Sardinian troops, whether from the im-
becility or the treachery of their leaders, remained in-
active, the French were preparing for the invasion of
Italy. Not many days before Nelson was thus sum-
moned to Genoa, he chased a large convoy into Alassio.
Twelve vessels he had formerly destroyed in that port,
though. 2000 Frencli troops occupied the town: this
former attack had made them take new measures of

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